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7 Tips for Healthy Gums and a Great Smile

7 Tips for Healthy Gums and a Great Smile

Healthy gums are critical for good oral health and a great smile. Taking a little time each day to brush, floss and take care of your gums will go a long way in preventing dental problems down the road.

Seemingly harmless issues like a little bleeding when you floss are a sign that your gums are not as healthy as they should be. Your best bet is prevention when it comes to healthy gums. If you’re proactive about it, then you’re less likely to experience the pain of sensitive teeth or even gingivitis, in which the gums become inflamed, bleed and swell.

It’s never to late to start taking better care of your gums.

Brush Regularly For Healthy Gums

First and foremost, you need to brush your teeth regularly. Brushing twice daily is considered the minimum to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But, you may not know that the way you brush can have an impact on your gums, too.

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  • Don’t brush too hard. Gentle pressure is all you need.
  • Use a toothbrush that is soft or extra-soft. The softness in the bristles is more gentle on the gums and won’t cut or rub them, making them bleed.
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle. This helps you get the bristles up against the gums, but you’re not abrasively rubbing them.
  • Every time you brush, aim for two minutes to help cut down on harmful bacteria in the mouth.

Don’t Forget to Floss

While flossing can seem like a drudgery, it goes a long way in helping to keep gums healthy. It removes plaque that would otherwise stay between the teeth and turn into tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup attract bacteria that will eventually lead to gum swelling and inflammation.

When you begin to floss, it will take it awhile to become a habit. However, if you keep at it, you’ll learn to look forward to how clean your mouth feels afterward.

Aim to floss at least once per day and help yourself out: get a brand of floss you’ll want to use. Some companies make different “flavours” of floss such as mint or cinnamon. For people with tight teeth, in which there’s not much space between each tooth, using floss “tape” or “ribbon” can be a lot more comfortable than other types. Waxed floss glides between the teeth more easily, as well.

Have you ever noticed that even if you brush thoroughly, your breath isn’t that great? If you don’t floss regularly, those little food particles left between the teeth can create a foul odor and contribute to chronic bad breath.

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Another benefit of flossing is that it’s heart-healthy: believe it or not, studies show that people who floss regularly have lower incidences of heart disease.

Use Mouthwash

Using a good mouthwash will not only keep your breath fresh, it can help keep harmful bacteria at bay.

Use a mouthwash that kills bacteria. A number of brands on the market do just that.

Eat Some Cheese

If you can’t brush at the end of a meal, try eating a piece of Swiss or other aged cheese. It actually helps to pull away some of the plaque and food particles leftover from meals.

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Not only that, the added calcium is good for bones and teeth.

Chew Sugarless Gum

You can freshen your breath and help clean your mouth by chewing on a piece of sugarless gum for about 20 minutes after eating. Keep in mind, this is more if you’re in a pinch. Regular gum-chewing, especially if you do that for extended amounts of time, can lead to jaw problems down the road.

Avoid gum with sugar in it, too. The added sugar will only serve to create more plaque and bacteria.

Try Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is a popular folk remedy. You “slosh” a tablespoon of coconut, sunflower, or sesame oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spit it out. It works like flossing in that you pull the oil through your teeth and lubricate the gums. It has the added benefit of whitening the teeth. Be careful, though. If you have loose fillings or otherwise painful teeth, you should check with your dentist before trying this remedy.

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Don’t Forget the Dentist

Of course, you need to see your dentist regularly: every six months. By doing so, your dentist can detect any problems early on and help to keep your teeth in optimal condition. He or she will be able to clean any plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to diseased gums and will give you other pointers for your oral care.

It’s Easy!

All these suggestions will only take a small amount of time. A few minutes a day is a great investment for a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. What are you waiting for? Start taking care of those gums and pearly whites to keep that smile as bright as possible.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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